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Old Feb 27, 2011, 09:39 PM   #1
kittensforme
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Garageband recording of grand piano

Just joined tonight, have had my imac for @ 3 years, and am desperate to find out why a grand piano recorded into Garageband comes out sounding like a toy and more like a honky-tonk piano than a Steinway. Have looked thru many how-to's--nothing. Don't know enough about tweaking the EQ levels to even try to fix the sound, especially when I don't know where things go strange. Have even used an external mic with no luck. Somebody hep me please; I'm ready to cry. I have some FOCAL speakers (better for the itunes sounds) and a Behringer Xenyx 1002 (I'm basically useless on that, too.)
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Old Feb 28, 2011, 09:51 AM   #2
jackerin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittensforme View Post
Have even used an external mic with no luck.
If you are saying you first tried using a built-in mic to record a piano and expect usable results you have a lot to learn about recording.

Here is a good start for learning http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
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Old Feb 28, 2011, 03:26 PM   #3
kittensforme
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Garageband recording of grand piano

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackerin View Post
If you are saying you first tried using a built-in mic to record a piano and expect usable results you have a lot to learn about recording.

Here is a good start for learning http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm

Thanks for the info. That's exactly what I thought when I first got this imac & GarageBand; really sounded lots better at the store. Kept telling my husband that this is way over my head and that I didn't think we had the right equipment. Now I'm hoping I'm doing this reply correctly.

75 lessons at tweakheadz.com !! I think I'm going to love this site.

Last edited by kittensforme; Feb 28, 2011 at 03:32 PM. Reason: to fix typo and addition to message
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Old Feb 28, 2011, 04:48 PM   #4
jackerin
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Originally Posted by kittensforme View Post
really sounded lots better at the store.
Do you mean they had an actual piano in the store that they recorded or did they use a MIDI keyboard hooked up to the Mac? Because using a MIDI keyboard is much simpler than recording a real piano, and if they had anything piano-like hooked up to the computer it was most likely that.
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Old Feb 28, 2011, 05:28 PM   #5
ChrisA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittensforme View Post
Just joined tonight, have had my imac for @ 3 years, and am desperate to find out why a grand piano recorded into Garageband comes out sounding like a toy and more like a honky-tonk piano than a Steinway. Have looked thru many how-to's--nothing. Don't know enough about tweaking the EQ levels to even try to fix the sound, especially when I don't know where things go strange. Have even used an external mic with no luck. Somebody hep me please; I'm ready to cry. I have some FOCAL speakers (better for the itunes sounds) and a Behringer Xenyx 1002 (I'm basically useless on that, too.)
I like the part "even used an external mic". What else would you use? and just one mic? When I saw the title I was going to ask what mics and preamp you were using and what kind and size is the room. One more thing, sell or give away (if you can) anything that says "Behringer" on it. It is very odd that you'd own both Focal and Behringer gear. They are close to the best and worst of what's out there.

For you debut as a recording engineer you seem to have picked the #1 hardest to do project. Kind of like the kid who whats to learn to drive so he goes to the track in a formula race car. Seriously yo need to work your way up to a piano. Do a voice over track first for a vacation slide show. Just spoken voice. You will lean about mics, reflections off walls, how to use the software and much more. Then try doing a guitar. Build up your skills with reasonable projects that don't requires $5,000 worth of gear.

For most amateurs you will get far better results if you use a digital piano. No, digital pianos don't sound better but they are so easy to record (because they have Line-Out jacks) that overall the result sounds better. I've hear many A/B tests between acoustic grans pianos and DPs and I can always pick the digital, it is the one that sounds technically best simply because anyone outside of a recording studio is ill-equipped to record an acoustic grand. I do play piano a little and agree that live, theacoustic grand is hands down the winner but not for home recording

To record a piano first you need a good "space", a very large room. Lacking that you will be forced to close mic the piano with mics under the lid. You are going to need a few (2 to 4) good mics, stands booms and cables and a computer audio interface, either USB or Firewire with inputs for that many mics,. Expect to have to experiment with exact placement of the mics, move them only inches at a time. Choosing mics for an acoustic piano is not easy and depends on how you intend to place them and the kind of sound you are after. For sure loose that mixer and run all the mics into the computer through a quality interface. It would be easy to spend more than the cost of a good digital piano (Roland FP7F) on mics and other gear. Also think about renting studio time.

The problem is if the piano is in a "tiny" 20 foot square room at home a mic not under the lib hears sound from the walls. Place the mic under the lid and it has to be close to one string and far from the others. So you use several and now you need to understand about "phase" and many other things. If you were in a large auditorium that you could pull put a pair of mics 6 or 8 feet in front of the piano.

Your bet bet is to buy and read a few books. This is a book lenght subject and no one can explain it here. There are a number on home recording how-to books. Buy 2 or 3 of them. Money spent on books repays itself 10X over. Don't skip the first easy projects and build your set of gear slowly. Only buy a mic if it solves a problem you can't solve with existing mics. It's to easy to spend $1,000 and have nothing to show for it in terms of improved result. Go slow and have fun.

Or just ignore all this andbuy a digital piano for recording. You don't even need a great one if using a software instrument inside Garage Band. If you like the Steinway sound (I assume you do or you woluld be gotten a Kawai or something like that) that you should look at Roland's line. The FP7F is about $1,800 andhas pretty good key action and a european/american kind of sound and being a slab type stage piano will fit in a case when not in use.

Last edited by ChrisA; Feb 28, 2011 at 05:58 PM.
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Old Feb 28, 2011, 09:47 PM   #6
zimv20
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is this for real? "garageband sounded better at the store"? what does that even mean?

not sure i'm buying this "i have focal and behringer", either.
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